Author Topic: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135  (Read 6358 times)

chambeshi

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135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« on: July 22, 2016, 10:22:05 »
I have an option on a late K model 135mm f2.8. With s/n 452907, it's of the late 1975 vintage according to Roland's authoritative website. So this has the 4/4 optics just prior to the revision to 5/4.

From Jan 1976-1977 there was a short production run of the K lens in the smaller housing with revised 5/4 optics before AI kicked in (1977); this 135mm f2.8 was subsequently upgraded to AIS. This particular lens was thus one the very last of the earlier K model. The AI and AIS models have a solid reputation, according to the rather sparse details I have read on the www. Besides lighter weight (630g vs 430g of post 1976 models of the 135 2.8 Nikkors) the optics of the 5/4 lenses are superior, apparently (cf Simon Stafford's New Nikon Compendium). And the focus throw is an impressive 270o on these later models.

In search of reliable data, I also suffered exposure to an obnoxious, obscene, character on youtube (impossible to suffer the diatribe to its end). A waffling rant raving about the virtues of the 135 Nikkor f2.8. There is indeed surely better, wiser, and sober experience on such subjects, thanks be to NG  ;) ;)

Has anyone compared the AI and AIS 135's against the earlier 135s? Should one rather look for a 135 lens in AI or AIS? I will use it for portraits and landscapes

To confess, i have a superb 135 f2 DC (one of the inaugural pre D lenses) and very recently a 105 f2.5 AI - thanks be to NG wisdom wrt classic primes on the Nikon Df  ;D

So I must be honest and confess to pure Nikonitis in this case; Nikonitis being that incurable, and hyper-virulent strain of the pathology that be GAS  ::)

many thanks

Woody

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D850, D780, 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G, 85 f1.4D, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E PF, 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8

Bjørn Rørslett

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 10:37:54 »
The 4/4 version of the 135/2.8 had high contrast and good sharpness at the widest stops, but quickly faded when stopped down further according to my field notes. It has a very sturdy build and handles well.

If the price point is acceptable, do pull the trigger, as it surely is a lovely lens to familiarise oneself with. Whether there are even more or lovelier alternatives out there - well, that is the fundamental principle of uncertainty leading to massive GAS.


richardHaw

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 10:43:54 »
hello, mr. Woody.

Below are my teardown articles. i always put a small writeup of the lens along with some pictures to illustrate before I mutilate the lens, I hope that you find these helpful.

4/4
https://richardhaw.com/2016/04/21/repair-nikkor-q-135mm-f2-8/

5/4
https://richardhaw.com/2016/07/10/repair-nikkor-135mm-f2-8kaiai-s/

I hope that I am understanding you correctly, you just wanted to know the difference of the 4/4 or 5/4 in terms of performance or are you referring to all of the latter 135 f/2.8 lenses (K vs Ai vs Ai-S)?

I will tell you now that the 4/4 seems to be much more smoother when it comes to transition (look at my pics) but the K+ will give you much better sharpness at the expense of the soft transition from what is in focus to what is not. this is also true with the 105mm f/2.5 series of lenses. I am not an expert so please do not take this as truth, I am just conveying what I see and my overall impressions with using both lenses. I have not tested these lenses when it come to flare resistance as well. You will also want to keep in mind that majority of my lenses were found in the junkbox and restored by me so that may also contribute a bit to image quality.

having said the above, they both produce images with different characteristics.  :o :o :o


richardHaw

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 10:44:54 »
well, that is the fundamental principle of uncertainty leading to massive GAS.

If I may add - just buy both :o :o :o they do not cost much these days anyway. ::)

chambeshi

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 11:10:45 »

If the price point is acceptable, do pull the trigger, as it surely is a lovely lens to familiarise oneself with. Whether there are even more or lovelier alternatives out there - well, that is the fundamental principle of uncertainty leading to massive GAS.

I am waiting on the owner to come up with a price. Then i'll squeeze off - definitely. Infallible argument i cannot fault. You have convinced me  :)

Thank you

woody
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D850, D780, 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G, 85 f1.4D, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E PF, 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8

David H. Hartman

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 11:18:29 »
I have not tested these lenses when it come to flare resistance as well.

About the time people were dumping Nikon FM3a(s) and manual focus Nikkors to buy a D70 two lenses caught my eye at KEN.com: they were a 28/2.0 AIS and 135/2.8 AIS both in "Like New" condition. I took a chance and bought both. They both were mint in their original boxes and both had Super IC coatings.

About flare and the 135/2.8 AIS. I don't like the built in lens hood. It's the worst of any Nikkor lenses I own, worse than the one on my 105/2.5 AIS Nikkor. I use a Nikon HS-14 lens hood which is quite deep. You really have to try to get flare and ghost with this setup. As I recall one can get a small green ghost if the sun is just at the edge of the frame.

The AIS has a silky smooth 180 degree throw on the focus which is probably in the interest of PJ shooting. The AI has a 270 degree throw which will aid in very precise focus. Maybe you should buy one of each. hehe...

In this case the raving maniac is right. Even Ken Rockwell knows it's a fine lens.

Dave
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richardHaw

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 11:29:11 »
buy every version of it i say. they are very lovely lenses. :o :o :o

chambeshi

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 12:08:00 »

I hope that I am understanding you correctly, you just wanted to know the difference of the 4/4 or 5/4 in terms of performance or are you referring to all of the latter 135 f/2.8 lenses (K vs Ai vs Ai-S)?

I will tell you now that the 4/4 seems to be much more smoother when it comes to transition (look at my pics) but the K+ will give you much better sharpness at the expense of the soft transition from what is in focus to what is not. this is also true with the 105mm f/2.5 series of lenses. I am not an expert so please do not take this as truth, I am just conveying what I see and my overall impressions with using both lenses. I have not tested these lenses when it come to flare resistance as well. You will also want to keep in mind that majority of my lenses were found in the junkbox and restored by me so that may also contribute a bit to image quality.

having said the above, they both produce images with different characteristics.  :o :o :o

again wise counsel validating that from Bjørn. The above and photos clinches this pre AI model!

Richard, you will likely be delighted to learn that this particular lens needs a major service - much dust etc internally and perhaps a fungus patch [ ::)] But i still plan to get it as the body is barely worn. Dare i say, the state of its grubby innards opens up a Strong bargaining position, in fact. Your detailed responses (including great articles) are more than convincing that this is a multi faceted opportunity.

All factors considered, looking forward to some fascinating lessons with this 135 (on the workbench and outdoors etc). And it's most opportune the 135 is ideal for a start off lens  ;) ;) Reading your intro articles on servicing lenses, I also see some upgrades pending for my tool inventory. Having a Dremel with the workstation press (yes wobbly but sufficient), it's the high quality screwdrivers that are priority, and to locate a source of the grease. I can get acetone and EtOH etc from the molecular genetics lab I work in.

So grateful thanks for all the expert advice :)

all the best

woody

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D850, D780, 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G, 85 f1.4D, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E PF, 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8

chambeshi

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2016, 12:10:19 »
About the time people were dumping Nikon FM3a(s) and manual focus Nikkors to buy a D70 two lenses caught my eye at KEN.com: they were a 28/2.0 AIS and 135/2.8 AIS both in "Like New" condition. I took a chance and bought both. The both were mint in their original boxes and both had Super IC coatings.

About flare and the 135/2.8 AIS. I don't like the built in lens hood. It's the worst of any Nikkor lenses I own, worse than the one on my 105/2.5 AIS Nikkor. I use a Nikon HS-14 lens hood which is quite deep. You really have to try to get flare and ghost with this setup. As I recall one can get a small green ghost if the sun is just at the edge of the frame.

The AIS has a silky smooth 180 degree throw on the focus which is probably in the interest of PJ shooting. The AI has a 270 degree throw which will aid in very precise focus. Maybe you should buy one of each. hehe...

In this case the raving maniac is right. Even Ken Rockwell knows it's a fine lens.

Dave

Thank you Dave

yes the AIS was on my hitlist, and then I found this older 135.

So Nikonitis decrees i'll end up with both  ;D ;D

best

woody
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D850, D780, 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G, 85 f1.4D, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E PF, 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8

longzoom

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 12:39:07 »
Woody, if you are looking for sheer sharpness, the best among all of 135 Nikkors is 135/3.5 AIS. Transitions areas by this lens is not as smooth as 2.8 version producing, but is not bad at all. 3.5 version is not that easy to find in good conditions, but if you are lucky, you will be pleasantly surprise! Try it, if possible, to compare!  Good luck, anyway!  THX,   LZ

Hugh_3170

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2016, 16:04:53 »
Woody, I can confirm that my 135mm f/3.5 Ai is a very good lens indeed.  I have recently acquired a 135mm f/2.8 AiS lens as well, but I have yet to try it out.  I will give it a C-L-A first.

***************************

Richard has spoken elsewhere of the Japanese made Vessels brand JIS "+" point screwdrivers - I must agree with him - they are excellent.  Their hollow ground "-" point screwdrivers are even better. 

I do however have a set of four American Moody brand screwdrivers - all JIS "+" point and with magnetic interchangeable tips.  The magnetic tips make a huge difference in my individual circumstances as I suffer from arthritis in the hands (well everywhere in fact) and being able to pick up and start the small screws that lenses utilise without having to fumble around with stuffed up hands and fingers is a real god send for me.  I hope that you don't need to use such tricks, but there is usually a work around for these challenges.  I got mine off Ebay - let me know if you want me to look up the seller for you - he had a great range of stuff.  Micro-Tools are the other source.

*************************** 

My 30+ year old Dremel drill stand works well - it works by having the Dremel unit and its drill or cutter fixed and the table being able to be moved up/down.  Serves well for milling aperture rings when doing Ai conversions of pre-Ai lenses.  I change height/cut by adding sheets of paper under the item being milled.  Sounds weird, but in practice is very straight forward and enables very consistent outcomes.

My new Dremel drill stand is a right royal pain in the neck.  The Dremel unit and its drill bit moves up and down like  a conventional drill press.  Unfortunately when doing so, the drill bit does not maintain a parallel line to the column and nor is it perpendicular to the table.   Maybe it is just my example, but it will need a lot of fettling to fix up the quill arrangements to get it put to rights.  Its OK for drilling things like sheet material but very little else.  Check yours for this defect if it is of this type.
Hugh Gunn

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2016, 18:26:54 »
buy every version of it i say. they are very lovely lenses. :o :o :o

I agree.  I had (and still have) the 135 3.5 from my FE days starting in 1979.  Loved that lens. 
It was a great picnic-portrait lens; I was living in Florida at the time and we had a lot of picnics and cookouts. 
Frederick V. Ramsey

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2016, 04:36:39 »
As has been noted already, the early K 135/2.8 has the 4/4 optics from the older Nikkor-Q and Q.C models. It has the same multicoating as the Q.C model. The main difference between the two is the modern styling. The optics have a good reputation. Compared to the newer 5/4 models:
 - bigger - 96 x 73mm compared to 83.5 x 64.5mm
 - heavier - 600 vs 430g, so a much more solid lens to handle
 - cannot focus as close - 1.5m vs 1.3m
 - magnification is 1:9 vs 1:7.5, so cannot crop as tightly
 - focus throw at the same distance is about the same, overall focus throw is only shorter due to longer close focus limit
 - both have slide out hoods, the older one is much firmer, both are a bit short

The older lens is an impressive lens, but the newer is a littler more versatile due to the smaller size and closer focusing limit.

pluton

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2016, 08:27:57 »
I just got through comparing my current copies of the Ais 135/2, KAi'd135/2.8(5/4), and Ais 135/3.5.
The three are are extremely closely matched for general "look" and image detail contrast when compared at the same stops.  The red axial color fringes on bright specular highlights are slightly greater in size on the 135/2.8(5/4) than the other two when compared at comparable stops.
Keith B., Santa Monica, CA, USA

chambeshi

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Re: 135 f2.8 late K model versus AI and AIS 135
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2016, 13:01:53 »
I just got through comparing my current copies of the Ais 135/2, KAi'd135/2.8(5/4), and Ais 135/3.5.
The three are are extremely closely matched for general "look" and image detail contrast when compared at the same stops.  The red axial color fringes on bright specular highlights are slightly greater in size on the 135/2.8(5/4) than the other two when compared at comparable stops.

interesting empirical evidence

thank you for testing
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D850, D780, 20 f4 AI 28 f2.8AIS 45 f2.8AIP 55mm 2.8AIS+60 f2.8G Micro 58 f1.4G, 85 f1.4D, 400 f2.8E VRII 300 f4E PF 500 f5.6E PF, 70-180 Micro f4-5.6D 70-200 f2.8E FL, Zeiss Distagons -15 f2.8, 21 f2.8